5 March 2012

banana by the bunch, a box of captain crunch would taste so good

While there are large-scale diseases with varying degrees of manageability, on the day-to-day level the human body can still be pretty unfair to its inhabitant. I say this with full acknowledgement of my privilege - that is, I am sound enough of body. I mean your intentions going one way and your body going another. Like when I wet my pants on the first day of school. My teacher didn't exactly give off kindly, benign vibes, and while I'd asked where the toilet was, I didn't understand the answer. Also didn't have the life skills at five years old to ask her to clarify her response, so...yeah. On the upside, I'd like to think I showed an early propensity for quick-wittedness when I offhandedly advised that it had been raining the night before, hence the puddle.

But what's got me thinking about this, is that it's currently 5.30am. Not that shocking an hour really. But I've been absolutely, no-turning-back awake since 3.45am. Not for want of trying to sleep. My brain started getting stupid anyway. Like I'd be imagining rain on the roof and being all nice and calm, drifting away on a floating bed - suddenly my brain would insert into this lovely scene an enormous insect, a particular insect that terrifies the heck out of me and whose name I'm not even going to utter on this page. My brain did this about five times while I lay there in cold-then-hot discomfort, my normally reliable pillow becoming flat and concrete-like...when I checked my phone and over an hour had passed, I accepted there was not much I could do about it. So here I am. 


Alas, this is quite typical. I'm not the best sleeper. Normally it manifests in my taking hours to fall asleep after turning off the light, but this time I had sleeplessness working its way to the middle from both ends of the night. As I sit here typing in the dark, Tim, the minxy hellion, is sleeping like he always does, deeply, unflappably, and with enviable briskness. Meanwhile I've been lying thinking "I'm going to be so fragile tomorrow. Does thinking I'm going to be fragile mean I'm going to be more fragile? Aagh, it's that insect that I hate!"

Luckily I had the foresight yesterday to bake some banana bread, a warm pillowy slice of which I am confident will provide untold comfort. 


Especially when that banana bread was spontaneously studded with the roughly chopped remainder of a vanilla-fluttery, buttery block of Whittaker's white chocolate. (Please scuse the pink stains on my chopping board. Either everything is stained permanently or you never eat beetroot, there is no middle ground in life.)


Banana bread always seems like a rather lovely thing to me, perhaps because I associate it with the banana bread that shy, lonely Charlotte Johanssen brought over for her the Ramsey family in Babysitters Club #13: Hello Mallory, while the majority of Stoneybrook ignored the newcomers, quite racistly. While I didn't exactly know what banana bread was at the time - we would've likely called it loaf cake in New Zealand - something about its compact, sliceable practicality all wrapped in tinfoil and carried over by Charlotte conveyed the sense of neighbourly friendliness better than any other food could've.

This is, kinda bafflingly, the FOURTH time I've blogged about Banana bread (Nigella's beautiful recipe in 2008, and then in 2010 a vegan recipe and a highly recommendable Banana-lime Palm Sugar Loaf) and yet this new recipe still has its rightful place. Oh and I say 'bafflingly' because I can't believe I've only just now brought up the Babysitters Club connection. Four banana bread recipes itself is not baffling. What's this one bringing to the table though? It's simple, it's strewn with white chocolate, and it has the snuggly scent of cinnamon. It's also gluten-free, if you want it to be.

Cinnamon White Chocolate Banana Cake

Adapted somewhatish from a recipe in Meat-free Mondays. That book just won't quit!

125g soft butter
125g sugar (optional - half brown, half white sugar)
2 eggs
3 medium, ripe bananas (or 2 large)
50g roughly chopped white chocolate
170g rice flour, or plain flour 
50g cornflour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt

Set your oven to 180 C/350 F and beat the butter and sugar together till creamy and light. Beat in the eggs, then fold in the bananas and white chocolate. Finally, sift in all the dry ingredients and fold them in gently. Tip the batter into a paper-lined loaf tin, and bake for about 1 1/4 hours.


Something about the magical properties of cornflour make this light, puffy, and with a crisp yet mouth-meltingly tender crust. There might be more to it than that, but I'm pretty sure it's the cornflour. While I'll stand up for white chocolate's deliciousness any day, sometimes being paired with a spice only makes it more delightful, and this is verily the case with the cinnamon. Its warm mellow fragranced-ness against the shards of creamy sweetness is brilliant, and makes me want to pair white chocolate and cinnamon together again in other baking. And soon.



Um, yes, that is a glass bottle with a stripey straw in it. Guess what's in the bottle? Iced coffee. Part of me is all "but it's so pretty" and the other half is saying "Ugghh this is so blogger-y". As always, to prove to myself that form over function could still provide a function, and I wasn't just using props in my photos for the sake of it, I drank that coffee through the straw. It gave the already fruity, complex brew distinct notes of warm cardboard. But, as Leslie Knope said when she married off two male penguins to each other at the zoo: "I firmly believed it would be cute".  I think I need to stop guilting myself out over this.

Speaking of cute, no sooner had I expressed a stunted desire to start drawing again in a recent blog post, than did appear a 31-day drawing challenge on the internet. Yay for the internet! Specifically I saw it on Instagram, the photo-sharing app, and so that's where I'm posting all my daily drawings. You're welcome to check them out here (just look for the photos that are of drawings), but to lure you in, here's my keenly sensitive and profoundly artistic rendering of Day 3's challenge - an internal organ.


Speaking of bodies turning on you... (that'd be a diabetic pancreas, if you're new here.)

And look, here I am at 6.45am! A blog post under my belt, and the day's hardly begun. I think I'd still take the sleep though. Fingers crossed for tonight. Which is feeling a long, long way away - oh, did I mention it's Monday? Cruel, cold Monday? Thank goodness for banana bread, hey?
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Title via: I feel like there should be like, an airhorn going off or a balloon drop every time I use a song from RENT (which this blog's named for) in the title of a blog post too. If I keep making banana bread I'm going to run out of title options, but for now kindly revel in the unspeakably glorious joy that is Angel's big number, Today 4 U, performed with alacrity by Wilson Jermaine Heredia. 
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Music lately:

My capacity for being obsessed with songs is boundless. Boundless, I tell you. So the fact that I listened to Marina and the Diamonds' Shampain almost literally a million times this week shouldn't surprise you.

Monkees, Last Train to Clarksville. RIP Davy Jones, heartthrob.
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Next time: whatever it is, let's hope I'm telling you about it on more than three hours of sleep.

22 comments:

  1. Banana and white chocolate...yummy combination!!
    Have a nice week

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  2. one day you will have little munchkins who are wide awake with you and demanding you do things for them, at least you won't be lonely !! a big yum for the banana bread ...

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    1. Haha, well we'll see about that. And it was yum - not a lot left now...

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  3. yum yum yum yum yum!! I would like this in my belly right now!

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  4. You should enter this in the Whittaker's competition...

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    1. Yeah...nah...am having a competition hiatus. But thanks Mum.

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  5. Yum Yum white chocolate cinnamon and banana bread! Great combo!

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  6. My dearest, darling, fellow-insomniac, BSC-loving, sweet-tooth, darling darling friend. Hugs for the scary frustrating miserable lonely dark nights, steadily getting anxious about how you'll cope with the next day and fearing you won't sleep again the next night. Our stupid, stupid brains.

    But at least we can have the comfort of so often being in it together. Sweetest cake-filled dreams for the rest of the week, Laura!

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    1. Brains! I know, what are they good for. Cake-filled dreams right back at you, and hopefully some cake-filled waking life as well. X

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  7. The rest of the town was definitely racist in BSC #13! Good thing they chilled.

    I feel so very grateful that I rarely have trouble sleeping, but my body definitely makes me pay by making problems out of nothing, i.e. sicknesses all the time.

    Cute drawings, way to get back at it:)

    By the way, I think an air raid siren does go off - in my mind, at least - whenever you use RENT lyrics. It just isn't loud enough for you to hear across the world;)

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    1. My body does that too. Whereas Tim has an actual disease but never, ever gets sick. Win some, lose some...

      Thanks :) sometimes I'm very serious with the assignment, I promise!

      Aw! I'll listen harder for it next time :P

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  8. Anything where you add Whittaker's has to be good & there are some very ripe bananas lurking in the freezer so there will likely be banana bread quite soon. It is indeed so comforting & I love the little bottle & the little straw :)

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  9. If I wake up in the middle of the night and I start imagining things that it, no way of sleeping....huge insects brrr!

    Uh... that looks more that 50 g of chocolate to me ... but I guess that it is good to have more than less :-)

    Ciao
    A.

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  10. Haha, that's a good-looking pancreas :) I wonder if mine would smile ...

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  11. Oh my, this looks amazing!! Love your writing, even in a sleep deprived state. I like how you used the picture you drew of Tim's pancreas to entice readers to check out your drawing challenge! (And what a good challenge it is too!! I tried to do that with photography one year, a photo a day for 30 days. I think I made it half way. I hope you make it further with your drawing!!!)

    I haven't had much time for catching up on my blog reading lately, but I'm always happy when I come back to your blog & read all your interestingness. I've come to the realisation that I will never have the way with words that I'd like to. Oh well, what can you do (except practice. I don't think I have the discipline for that in my life right now). Looking forward to catching up on the rest of your blog posts! Off I go!

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  12. I made some Rent references in my post today as well! LOVE that musical. And that you referenced the Baby Sitter's Club...I amazed you remember it in that much detail!

    One can never have too much banana bread in their life. Especially not with white chocolate studs in the middle.

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  13. I've had those exact same thoughts when I spotted the same cute straws at the kitchenware shop... haha, we are so kiwi.

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  14. I can SO relate to sleep woes - I have no problem going to sleep, but staying asleep is my problem. It is so frustrating! When I actually wake up in the morning and realize I've slept the whole night through it's such a wonderful accomplishment! I'm hoping this is just some kind of phase...

    Your banana bread looks great! I've put chocolate chips in mine before, but white chocolate is so much more decadent :)

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